- The Washington Times - Friday, October 16, 2009

NEW YORK | A late-day surge left stocks with modest advances Thursday as a jump in the price of oil lifted energy companies and offset weakness in bank shares.

The gains came a day after strong-profit reports from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Intel Corp. vaulted the Dow Jones Industrial Average above the 10,000 level for the first time in a year. The Dow tacked on 47 points.

The rise in energy after a big drop in gas supplies helped buffer the losses in financials, which lost ground after earnings from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. proved disappointing.

JPMorgan helped set a high bar for bank earnings, and investors didn’t like what they heard from rivals Goldman and Citi. Goldman’s net income of $3.19 billion beat expectations on strong trading profits, but its stock fell on disappointment over a sharp fall in investment banking revenue. Citigroup reported a slightly smaller loss per share than expected but said credit losses remain high.

Google’s shares rose $16.44, or 3.1 percent, to $546.35 in extended trading after the company reported strong earnings. In regular trading earlier, shares fell $5.41, or 1 percent, to close at $529.91.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said it earned $1.64 billion, or $5.13 per share, in the three months ended in September. That represented a 27 percent increase from $1.29 billion, or $4.06 per share, at the same time last year.

Investors drew some comfort from government reports that new unemployment claims fell more than expected last week.

“Things are going in the right direction, but the fundamental economic improvement is slow,” said Robert Dye, senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group.

The Dow rose 47.08, or 0.5 percent, to 10,062.94, its highest close since Oct. 3 last year.

The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 4.54, or 0.4 percent, to 1,096.56. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 1.06, or 0.1 percent, to 2,173.29.

Since March, the Dow has jumped 53.7 percent, while the S&P; 500 Index is up 62.1 percent and the Nasdaq is up 71.3 percent.

Crude oil rose $2.40 to settle at $77.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after refiners that make gasoline and other fuels cut back on production last week, according to a government report.

The Labor Department said the number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment insurance fell to its lowest level since January. First-time claims for jobless benefits dropped to 514,000, better than the 525,000 economists were expecting, according to Thomson Reuters.

Energy stocks rose as oil jumped. Oil refiner Tesoro Corp. rose $1.25, or 8.6 percent, to $15.83.

Bond prices slipped as the economic reports signaled improvement in the economy. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.47 percent from 3.42 percent late Wednesday.

The Russell 2000 Index of smaller companies fell 0.60, or 0.1 percent, to 623.34.

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